Peru is a travel destination with many amazing sites and plenty of history. One of its most famous attractions is Machu Picchu, the “Lost City of the Incas.” Originally built somewhere around the year 1450, it was abandoned a century later during the Spanish Conquest. The city was forgotten and remained hidden for centuries, up until it was rediscovered in 1911.
Adventurous travelers will love Machu Picchu’s trails. The Inca Trail, the name for the three converging paths that lead to the ancient city, includes a four-day route that passes through ruins, old settlements, and tunnels. The trail passes through the Andes mountain range, and goes through forest and tundra environments that are sure to impress passionate hikers.
The citadel itself is situated high on the mountain, and is full of temples, palaces, paths, and water channels, not to mention the wonder of the structure’s stone walls, which were perfectly shaped and set in place without the use of cement. The ancient Inca architecture is such an impressive sight that the city was declared a World Cultural and Natural Heritage site in 1983.
The best way to fully experience the city and its surrounding natural landscapes is to set out at dawn, in order to catch the amazing panoramic from the top of the Wayna Picchu and Machu Picchu mountains. Experienced hikers will enjoy taking one of the Inca Trails, but less durable travelers should be aware that these trails are not easy. They consist of steep stone stairs, and reach a very high altitude. However, non-hikers can still make the trip: there are guides available to lead travelers on easier paths. They even run ahead to set up your campsite!
If you do want to see the beautiful scenery and ancient buildings of Machu Picchu, book your trip early. The Peruvian government has placed a limit on the number of people allowed to hike the trails to the city per day. Be sure to book your tickets well in advance online. The high season tends to book up quickly!
One more travel tip for today: at the end of your Machu Picchu hiking adventure, be sure to stop by the Aguas Calientes hot springs to soothe your muscles. There may be no better way to relax at the end of your Peruvian vacation!